Today is Friday. Today we will see how retailers – especially chain stores in Midtown – are rethinking things as they hope to adapt to a post-Covid survival.
Let’s say your office is in Midtown and after working from home for over a year, you finally move in. You probably won’t see old, familiar places along the way – or at lunchtime.
That coffee shop where the barista recognized you and remembered the way you liked your coffee, even if he didn’t remember your name? It may have been closed.
My colleague Julie Cresswell says that many people who work in Midtown’s office towers have found that many of their favorite haunts were pandemic victims – places where they grabbed muffins in the morning or had salads later in the day.
He took a look a few blocks on Eighth Avenue. The once busy Starbucks on the corner of 39th Street is gone. So is a Dos Toros Taqueria which opened three years ago. Wok to Wok also went, which once served steaming containers of noodles with chicken and vegetables.
The changes aren’t just limited to restaurants. The shops have cut their hours. Occupying two floors in the Empire State Building, Walgreens – the largest retail tenant in the building – was open 24 hours a day. Now it opens at 8 am and closes at 10 pm
It’s all a sign that retailers are rethinking Manhattan. The number of available ground floor stores has increased. According to a report by real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, a quarter of ground-floor storefronts in Lower Manhattan are available for rent, while nearly a third are available in Herald Square.
Conventional wisdom was that delicacy and locally owned stores suffered the most, but many chain stores have also disappeared. Starbucks has closed more than 40 stores. Pret a Manger has reopened only half of the 60 sandwich shops in Manhattan before the pandemic.
Why was Midtown hit so hard?
Midtown was at risk because its real estate inventory consists mainly of offices and hotels – and hotels were devastated as tourists stayed home. In contrast, Jeffrey Rosman, a retail real estate broker with Newmark, said, “If you think about other office-focused areas, whether it’s downtown or Flatiron or Hudson Yards, there’s a lot of residential around those areas. Let them help maintain the market.”
Even the towering Empire State Building is facing uncertainty. A Times survey found that tenants there, representing 41 percent of the space, said there would be a hybrid model when they returned to the office. Among those tenants is LinkedIn, the Empire State Building’s largest tenant, which leases 10 completed floors and part of another, renting at least $26 million annually.
At the same time, there are some newcomers who are attracted by the record-low retail fares. Burger chain Sonic just signed a lease for its first restaurant in the city, replacing the Pax Holsome Foods location in Midtown.
And some chain restaurants have adapted to the hope of a post-Covid world.
Now gone from the Bryant Park location at Le Pen Cotidien are the tall communal tables that used to be the signature of the series. A remodeling grab-and-go next year will make room for more refrigerated affairs, along with salads, sandwiches, and drinks. And an app is designed to smooth out preorders for pickup. But Stephen Smittle, the chain’s senior vice president for operations, said some customers have been around for a long time the way they were before the pandemic.
“We used QR codes to view guests’ menus because we tried to limit exposure to surfaces,” he said, “but most of our guests want to have a real menu. They want to feel very normal. They want a server. They want to have a cup of coffee, not a paper cup.”
Rain will likely continue during the day with temperatures in the mid-70s, before a promising, mostly sunny weekend arrives. They’ll drop into the high 60s at night. New York Metro Weather notes that the last time the sun will set tonight is 7 p.m. or later in New York until March 13.
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Effective till September 21 (Sukkot).
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Crushed dirt bike? “A beautiful sight,” says Meyer.
Dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles lined up as if an avalanche knife was about to jump over them. But what emerged was not a death-defying stunt, but a slow, close-to-ground maneuver at a landfill—”a very visual way to get our point across,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. Said it.
The issue was of bulldozers ramming dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles. The bulldozers restarted their engines and began to lower them – not smithereens, not exactly then, but certainly unrecoverable debris.
“I think we put an exclamation point on that,” de Blasio said as the bulldozers rolled back and forth. “People hate these things. They’re loud. They’re obnoxious.”
There has been a proliferation of dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles on city streets, even though they are illegal on public routes – despite lacking brake lights, turn signals and mirrors, they cannot be registered as motor vehicles. Dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles have posed a quality-of-life crisis for people from Washington Heights to Hell’s Kitchen when the engines roar in the middle of the night. Eric Adams, a former police captain who is the Democratic nominee to replace de Blasio, has denounced ATVs and dirt bikes as signs of chaos.
De Blasio said the police department already seizes and destroys hundreds of dirt bikes every year, but wants to find more. Deputy Chief Charles McAvoy urged New Yorkers to tell police where dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles are parked or in garages so police can seize them. He said people can call their local police premises by calling the Crimestoppers line (800-577-TIPS, or 800-577-8477) or pass the information on confidentially.
Concerns about safety were heightened after a 4-year-old was seriously injured by an illegal dirt bike in July slammed him In a parking lot at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens. Last month nearly two dozen city council members called for stricter enforcement of rules against off-road vehicles as well as higher penalties for offenders.
Thursday was not the first event at Fresh Kills on Staten Island that de Blasio attended. One was not universally appreciated in 2016. But on Thursday, de Blasio seemed happy with the pile on which the bulldozers rolled.
“It’s actually quite a beautiful sight in its own way,” de Blasio said.
what are we reading
Including a set of keys to an old reservoir in Midtown More than 250 items in an exhibit at the York Public Library, Gothamist reports.
More about Broadway’s reopening: Black playwrights, both delighted and worried about the upcoming season, discuss the road ahead. See how five shows retuned, restored and restarted are the signature effects.
What are we watching: Times Metro reporter Matthew Haag will discuss the state of New York City’s road to economic recovery on “Close Up with Sam Roberts.” The show airs on Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 1:30 pm and Sundays at 12:30 pm [CUNY TV]
After a pickup at a school in Manhattan, I rode with my daughters to Queens at a rush hour.
The train was full. The child started crying. There was a collective groan among the other passengers.
When the toys failed to calm her down, I jiggled my keys. This made her cry with laughter, but when I paused for even a second, she would cry.
By the time we got to Jackson Heights, the train was starting to empty. It was silent except for the rhythmic chimes of the keys.
A new passenger boarded.
“What’s with the keys?” He shouted, did not hold back from the abusive words.
I stopped jingling in between, but then others jumped to my rescue.
“Don’t listen to him!”
“Go ahead, lady, jingle!”
A man who was riding the train all the way put his hand on her heart.
“You are a beautiful mother,” he said.
I shook the keys one last time. The child was sleeping soundly.
— Jess Decorcy Hinds
Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Read more Metropolitan Diary here.
Glad we could be here together. see you tomorrow. – jb
ps today is mini crossword And spelling Bee. You can find all our puzzles here.
Melissa Guerrero, May-Ying Lam, Rick Martinez and Olivia Parker contributed to New York TODAY. you can reach the team [email protected].
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